The Documentary Theory holds that the Pentateuch was composed or compiled from several different documents or traditions written by several different authors. These original documents were argued to favor different styles and names for God, and thus were written by different authors. One document might favor “Elohim,” while another might favor “YHWH.” These sources are generally argued to be source J, E, P, and D. Genesis, however, only shows traces of J, E, and P. Some have even further subdivided the four primary sources. However, this theory fails to adequately explain the origin of the Pentateuch. Religious documents of the ancient Near East were not complied in this way, nor are variations in style and word choice conclusive. Dating the different documents is extremely difficult and far too subjective to prove the Documentary Theory.1
Spinoza questioned mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch and developed what is known as “higher criticism.” This is a form of internal analysis.2 Spinoza argued that the Pentateuch was compiled from several documents, some of which were Mosaic.3 Astruc went a step further and actually singled out two sources, one which preferred the divine name “Elohim,” and the other preferring “YHWH.”4
Davis refuted this theory based on several factors. First, no other Ancient Near Eastern religious document is known to have compiled in this way. Isolating sources based on divine names is an extremely insubstantial practice. Davis points out that the author of Genesis might well have chosen certain divine names over others at certain points because of theological emphasis, rather than due to source documents. Second, it is irrational to argue the Document Theory based on differences on style. As Davis notes, author’s will change their style based on audience and intent. Lastly, the dating of the documents is far from certain. Indeed, it is a subjective and unreliable practice.5
There are numerous portions of the New and Old Testament which ascribe authorship to Moses. Exodus 17:14 describes the Lord commanding Moses to record certain things on a scroll. Similarly in Exodus 24:4 we find Moses writing down everything the Lord had said. However, even Old Testament books outside of the Pentateuch, such as Joshua, speak of Mosaic authorship. In the New Testament, our Lord reaffirms Mosaic authorship in Mark 12:26, and John 5:46, and various other places within the Gospels. If Jesus stated that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch, then either He was mistaken, merely repeating a common misconception, or He was entirely accurate. If the Lord repeated a misconception, if He could fall victim to such inaccuracies, it would be impossible to tell which of His statements were true and which were false. It is furthermore impossible for the all-knowing Lord to be fooled by a common inaccuracy. Thus the words of Jesus were clear affirming Mosaic authorship. Moreover, Mosaic authorship was held by early Jews and early church...